The Great Licensed Apparel Question

Licensed apparel (or clothing) has gained prominence in the merchandising puzzle as of late thanks to its simplicity, low cost/high margins and its customizability. Long gone are the days when clothing bearing your favourite cartoon character was only availably in a few, all-round safe choices. Today, thanks to on-demand production and the internet as a sales channel, it’s possible to create clothing with just about anything on it and in just about any batch size. So here’s the deal, given a choice, would consumers rather wear clothes that feature a character or rather replicas of the clothes the character wears?

Continue reading “The Great Licensed Apparel Question”

A Comparison of Merida and Rapunzel

Guess which one scares me more?

It struck me there just last week that we’ve seen two major princess movies from the Disney umbrella in the last few years, although despite claims that we’ll see no more, one is already well under way. So I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the two already released to see just how different, or similar they are. The two in question are of course Merida from Pixar’s Brave and Rapunzel from Walt Disney’s Tangled.

For starters, they’re both teenagers. Yes, every adults favourite people to hate and for good reason. Teenagers tend to be obnoxious, whiny, annoying, conniving, rude, clumsy and above all, rebellious. Both Rapunzel and Merida imbue all these qualities ans more in their respective films. Merida directly disobeys her mother as does Rapunzel.

Both seem to have issues with issues with the life that is set out for them. Merida as a wife to an eejit and Rapunzel as an everlasting source of life for Mother Goethal. Neither is satisfied and both disobey the requisite adult. However, that is where the similarity ends, as Merida dashes off into the woods, her mother is fully aware that she has left. Rapunzel, in contrast, sneakily knows that her mother is gone and is more than willing to head off without her knowledge. Rapunzel is clearly the fuller character in this case.

Both characters coincidentally have wild hair, but whereas Rapunzel’s is a plot device, Merida’s is more of a set piece that is played up multiple times throughout the film. It’s fair to say that while Rapunzel’s hair adds to her character, Merida’s can’t help but distract the viewer, as was the case when it was highlighted in just about every single review of the film.

Both princesses are strong female characters 9the kind we all know and love) but Merida is undoubtedly the lesser of the two. The reasons here are complicated, but the long and winding gestation and execution of Brave are probably the root cause. In Tangled, Rapunzel’s character evolves throughout the film. She has to learn to trust Flynn Rider Eugene Fitzherbet (a good ol’ Irish surname there) and only by going through her experiences does she learn the truth about her past.

Merida on the other hand is very much presented as is. Yes, she does learn a lesson in the course of the film, but that doesn’t change her character. She’s still fundamentally the same person at the beginning as she is at the end. We learn (comparatively) little about her. A rather disappointing state of affairs given the wonderful setup we’re given (ancient Scotland and all that).

The princesses approach to love is also drastically different. Rapunzel is more than happy to comply with the established Disney norms; Merida, not so much. It should be noted that neither approach is right or wrong but in Tangled, love is clearly meant to imply marriage whereas in Brave, marriage does not necessarily imply love; an important distinction but one that tends to go against the formula for princess movies.

Overall, both are likeable character that despite their teenage label have mass appeal beyond the kids. It’s curious how different the two characters are despite Pixar’s attempt to make Brave a different kind of film. In the end though, we should be grateful that both films give the characters enough room for them to come into their own.

 

The Top 10 Animated Movies on DVD of 2011

It’s that time of year again, when everyone hauls out their “best of” lists that are always subjective and no-one ever really agrees on anyway. Well, being the objective, engineering type, I’ve decided instead to use Amazon.com’s sales as a guide to how animated films have fared this year.

To clarify, this list is just DVD sales and is sorted after doing a search for “animation” in the Movies & TV department and is also for films that are dated as being released in 2011, hence there are some films that while released theatrically in 2010, did not come out on DVD until 2011.

So without further adieu, here’s the top 10 animated films of 2011 according to Amazon.com (backwards of course):

10. LEGO: The Adventures of Clutch Powers

9. Gnomeo & Juliet

8. Barbie in a Mermaid Tale

7. Megamind (single disc edition)

6. Rango

5. Winnie the Pooh

4. Tangled

3. Rio

2. The Smurfs

And number 1, which you could probably have guessed anyway is…

Cars 2! (which must be selling like hotcakes; $19.73 for a single disc, yikes!)

A Sharp Reminder of How Animation Is Perceived In Some Quarters

On Friday, Tim Cushing over at Techdirt posted a piece that discussed another article by Jeffrey A. Tucker in which he discussed Disney’s Tangled and the political allegories of the film. With me so far? OK. One facet that Jeffrey touched on was how ideas/stories can be, in his words, turned into 2.0 versions, that is to say, be remixed and improve upon the original.

Both are great articles and I encourage you to read them both, but it was in the Techdirt article’s comments where a flame war seemed to break out. Now I do not condone flaming or trolling, but sometimes it brings out the true nature in folks, poking the beast as it were.

Anyway, reading down the comments, I came across one that epitomises that particularly nasty attitude that seems to linger around animation sometimes:

What kind of grown man calls watching children’s Disney movies a “pleasure”? Seriously, do you have the intellectual capacity and interests of an 8 year old girl?

It refers to Disney, but then they are only one of the many that the comment could apply to.

There are eejits everywhere and, much like the guy who called me an asshole on Friday after I apologised for taking his parking space, it says more about who its coming from than who it’d directed at.

Does it really matter that a grown man finds watching Disney movies a pleasure? Why should you even care? They’re good films and being the free society that we live in, can’t anyone enjoy them? How about the way such a statement insults all the fine people who worked on such a film, do they have the same, limited capacity?

It’s disheartening to be reminded that people like that exist. Sadly, the very nature and behind-the-scenes nature of animation leads to that kind of attitude because some people are incapable of separating what they see on screen from how things are actually created. Well, that and the fact that they believe that something needs to be ‘grown-up’ in order to be considered entertainment.

Why The Tangled DVD Is A Waste Of Your Money

Via: Amazon.com

It’s not secret I like Tangled. It’s fun and although the story and characters are slightly less than mirror-polished, it’s an engaging film that manages to astound with it’s visuals, as Jim Hull managed to put it on twitter:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/jameshull/status/54014060982841344″]

It’s true, the visuals are stunning and its the main reason I like the film. However, I am one of those folks that has an old-style TV. You know the ones, with a square screen and that take up as much space in the living room as an elephant. Am I behind the times? Yes, I am and I realise it. However for me, if it came down to it, I would rather spend the couple of hundred dollars on a flight to Ireland than a new TV. It’s not that I don’t like watching the boob tube [snicker], it’s just how I prioritize things.

Despite the fact that I like the movie, I was disappointed by the Tangled DVD. The only extras included on the disc are some original “storybook” version of the film’s opening and a countdown of films that makes Tangled the (supposed) 50th feature released by Disney.

Here’s my problem, and it’s likely to be your problem too. Why the heck would you pay $14.99 for a DVD with basically just the film on it? If you’re a truly insane or disadvantaged in who supplies your DVDs, you would have to pay the $29.99 that Disney recommends!

First of all, $14.99 is expensive, even for a DVD (when stores can sell CDs profitably for half the price, you know there’s something up). The extras included were and are available online so you do not gain anything by having the DVD. The ultimate insult is that for an extra fiver on Amazon.com, you can get the Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack but that is a matter of economics and I’m sure most people plumped for that version despite the fact that it offers only a few more extras and even then only on the Blu-Ray disc, the DVD is exactly the same as the stand-alone version.

So ask yourself: “why should I pay money for a plastic disc with just the movie on it? Why not save my money and download it from the internet? It’s not like there’s a lack of choice there”:

Snapshot of just some of the torrents available out there.

I do not advocate downloading films from the internet. The practice is quote/unquote “illegal” and if the MPAA thinks they’ve caught you, it can be a legal nightmare trying to get it sorted out. If you have ethical feels about it, there are always plenty of free (as in speech) and public domain films out there just gagging for your attention.

The point is, why on earth would I fork over a pile of money for something I can just download from the internet (legality aside)? It doesn’t make any sense to sell films like that any more because there is absolutely no incentive to the public to buy the film. If it came with some kind of extra that I could not download form the internet (read: a physical item) than there is a chance that people would be much more likely to purchase it.

I think that’s something that content producers cannot get their heads around. People no longer consider content a physical good whose reproduction can be controlled. People today (myself included) generally assume that if we can get it from the internet, then it probably should be free (there’s an economics background to this that can wait for another day, but trust me in the meantime).

Just to add insult in injury, there was a time when DVDs came stuffed to the gills with extra features. Since the introduction of Blu-Ray, we’ve seen those features gradually get pulled as the studios have attempted to incite use to get Blu-Rays instead. Unfortunately a new HD TV is a heck of a lot of money to spend and a few extras that I used to be able to get aren’t going to be the deal-breaker for me.

With less features on the DVD and with a nominal difference in price, why the heck would I buy the single DVD? If I just want to see the film, there is a heck of a lot of reasons why I should just go and download it or watch it through other means and I’m pretty sure that’s what plenty of folks are doing to the detriment of the studio and the artist who work in the industry.

 

David OReilly’s Freudian Review of Tangled

Disclaimer: I don’t normally post stuff that isn’t suitable for all ages but this is a slight exception. Exercise restraint if you are easily offended!

Yesterday (Thursday), in an amusing hour and a half, David OReilly (the Irish fella that has a wicked sense of humour, and who made these films) watched Tangled. He tweeted his thoughts as follows:

http://twitter.com/davidoreilly/status/43354415456976897

http://twitter.com/davidoreilly/status/43356373060292609

http://twitter.com/davidoreilly/status/43358448968155136

http://twitter.com/davidoreilly/status/43363060357926912

http://twitter.com/davidoreilly/status/43367503044419584

http://twitter.com/davidoreilly/status/43386156641038336

Lastly his recommendation:

http://twitter.com/davidoreilly/status/43388148054626304

Anomaly Appraisal: Tangled

Note: This is pretty long (1600+ words) analysis of the film. if you’re looking for a much shorter, concise critical review, head on over here to read my friend Emmett’s blog for his thoughts.

Yesterday I treated you all to a review of the film that was written by my girlfriend who has much superior writing skills to myself. Today, you are treated to my poorly worded yet strangely compelling one!

Various other reviews have focused extensively on the film’s troubled gestation; the sidelining of Glen Keane, the re-working of the script, the re-titling of the whole thing, etc, etc. Naturally there was a lot of concern among animation folks and fans that the resulting film would either be a mishmash of styles or a complete load of garbage that was simply pushed out in order to recoup at least some of the costs the project has swallowed.

Thankfully, Tangled is far from the worst case scenario, after all, Disney has put out far inferior films that were completed without any production hiccups. The only caveat to this review is that the projector failed during the screening and we missed approximately 5 minutes or so of footage, but overall, i don’t think it affected my opinion of the film, despite what I tweeted at the time.

So, without further adieu, here’s my comprehensive review of Disney’s Tangled.

The overall plot of the film is a welcome deviation from the traditional fairytale. Sure, Disney has always deviated a little bit from the established story, but in this case, it is almost a re-telling of the classic, which, in fact, works in the films favour in that it has allowed it to follow a different path.

Not necessarily a better path mind you, sadly the writers fell back on the old ‘magic’ chestnut with Rapunzel’s hair. A plot device such as that can be a great boon to a story (as every Harry Potter fan will know) but when it takes a sideline to the main plot, it must be used carefully to avoid appearing like a prop that the writers leaned on when they got into a tight spot with the story. Sadly, this is the case with Tangled, there was one scene in particular (that I will not mention here) that could easily have been resolved without the use of magic. While the scene may work well with kids, as an adult, I could see the resolution the second it began. It does not necessarily smack of laziness, but it does make me wonder why the writers took the easy way out. Perhaps the director’s commentary will provide an answer.

On the whole, the plot is fluid, with an imperceptible transition between the two protagonists backgrounds until the ultimate, if painful, introduction in the tower. Once this has occurred, the tale takes on the traditional film outline with the two characters attempting to achieve a goal while at the same time avoiding the evil Mother Gethals and Maximus the Horse. They get into some adventures, have a laugh here and there, engage in some thrilling action before the ultimate climactic conclusion to the entire endeavor.

What Tangled excels at is the way it has managed to weave modern pop-culture references into the tapestry of the fairytale. Sure they will date over time and in 10 years we may well wonder why on earth they seemed like a good idea at the time, but for right now, they’re good for an enjoyable laugh.

The story as a whole is appreciatively compelling enough to warrant a viewing, although it is the animation where the film really shines.

As smothered in 21st Century CGi as it is, Tangled is rooted firmly in the 2-D past of the Disney films of yore. Presumably that was the aim from the beginning, and thankfully it seems that the team has pulled it off in remarkable fashion. Yes, the colours are eye-popping, although they are well within the range of both the transcendent kaleidoscope that is Yellow Submarine and the sugar rush that is Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs.

The quality of the animation itself is nothing short of amazing. There is just the right amount of quality and comedy that is often so hard to get right. It is a real shame that none of the animators on this film have been highlighted for the individual achievement categories at the upcoming Annie Awards. I think that Tangled is the first movie to make a significant advancement in the field of human CGI animation since The Incredibles.

I would have to say that the direction was overall OK, there’s nothing outstanding about it although the cinematography is astonishing. The richness and expanse of the sets are apparent throughout the film, especially the sweeping camera movements over the castle.

When it comes down to it, however, the one thing that must be perfect (at least for me) is the characters. In Tangled we have a rarity in a Disney film in that there is no outright bad guy. Sure, Mother Gothels has her own selfish agenda, but she is quite unlike, say, Jafar, who has no qualms about outright killing Aladdin. Throughout the film she is portrayed as a vain woman who is also capable of incredibly conniving deeds and straight up lying in order to maintain the status quo. Overall, I found her to be an acceptable opponent for our heroes although her ultimate demise left much to be desired. Again, like the earlier scene, it was far to easy to spot it coming and the way it finished left me feeling somewhat cheated as the result was not what I expected. it would have been better to have left it to my own imagination like every other Disney death.

The comic relief characters, namely Maximus the Horse and Pascal the Chameleon, are your usual Disney characters. Maximus got plenty of laughs and is perhaps the standout character from the film. he is inventive, determined and extremely loyal.

 

Onto our male antagonist, Flynn Rider. In fairness, I liked this guy a lot better before I discovered that the guy doing his voice is Chuck from NBC’s Chuck. Nothing against the guy, but again, it seems like a ‘celebrity’ was found to fit the character rather than a professional voice-actor. In the end, Levi’s performance is fine in that there are no glaring failings.

The character of Flynn Rider himself is an interesting one. Here is this dreamer guy who just happens to be a thief for a living. While the film tries to imbue him with this sense of deep-down righteousness, it takes a long time in the film for this to become apparent. he has a sense of truth about him, even if he does not immediately display it.

As for our main protagonist, I’m afraid there is not much to say that hasn’t already been said. Yes, she is your typical female teenager. She can be whiny, obnoxious, prone to mood swings and unsure of herself although again, by the end of the film, she has become a much stronger person.

I regret to report that she still displays a lot of the usual characteristics of other Disney ‘princesses’. Some have decried the fact that she ‘needs’ a man to rescue here and provide her with a fair amount of her eventual happiness. While this does not necessarily cripple the film, it is disheartening to know that Tangled fails to strike out on its own. I can understand that deviating from the established formula can be incredibly risky, but at this point in time, not doing so can certainly undermine any critical credibility that has been built up.

Interestingly enough, I did not hear Rapunzel’s name mentioned until well into the film. Was this intentional? I’m not sure, but it did make her a somewhat mysterious character for a good chunk of the film, or maybe I missed when it was said waaaay at the beginning.

Naturally, the hair plays a large part in the film, being used as a major plot device. It does not dominate Rapunzel’s character entirely, but it does heavily influence it for the majority of the film. Only at the end can it be said that she truly breaks free from it and we,as an audience, can visualize what she is like as a real person. Such a circumstance is not unexpected, the film is, after all, based on the whole concept of the hair to begin with.

As typical as the film is with the love theme, it is nice to see a character have to come to terms with what it actually means. Plenty of other Disney films have been based on the premise that the girl simply falls in love. Here, Rapunzel clearly has to discover what it is mean to fall in love with someone. Flynn provides the suitable candidate and the scenes where Rapunzel slowly learns the pitfalls and rewards that come along with love are certainly heart-warming.

Overall, I liked Tangled as an entertaining film. I naturally do not consider it to be one of the greatest Disney films, not by a long shot. However, in light of the film’s rocky development it certainly exceeds the standard Hollywood fare. I can only imagine if Glen Kean’s original vision had been followed what I would be writing about today. From what I understand, we would have been watching a much darker, rendition of the tale that may well have provided a more robust and distinct storyline.

There’s no point contemplating what might have been though, perhaps with the second flick to come out of the venerable studio under the watchful eye of John Lasseter we may see the stunning return to form we have all hoped for these past few years. Until then, Tangled will do just fine.

Where Have All the Writers Gone: A Tangled Review

Editorial note: This is the first of two reviews I will be posting for Tangled. It is written by my girlfriend, Alicia, who came away from the film with some pretty strong opinions. I will be posting my review tomorrow. Please note that there are spoilers aplenty below.

Having gown up on Disney films, perhaps I hold them to higher standard. By now, we all know that Disney, more often than not, has good luck sticking to a relatively standard plot equation; though a little trite, I am generally okay with this. A female character, human or animal, usually privileged in some way, encounters an unlikely male character, usually less privileged in some way (every so often the role of privilege may reverse). They form a gradual bond while entangled (no pun intended) in an adventure containing a few musical interludes, and fall in love in the end. We see this in Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Cinderella, etc.

Tangled, while it has all of the traditional makings of a classic Disney movie, lacks a definitive twist of originality to captivate an audience already familiar with this timeworn plot sequence. A Repunzel theme certainly had potential, but Disney apparently forgot to hire writers…oops. The characters were underdeveloped, the verbal exchanges were banal and anticipated at best, and the jokes fell short. Not one scene or sequence of events went by unpredicted. I hate to be a spoiler (but trust me you would have seen this coming) the one scene I simply will never be able to forgive finds Repunzel and Flynn Ryder about to drown in a cave filling with water because it is to dark to find a way out. We suffer though about 3 to 5 minutes of unachieved “suspense” while Repunzel conveniently forgets that her magic hair glows. Surprise! She blandly remembers (never would have guess it…) and they make a lackluster exit from the cave. Though the film’s contentt began to improve towards the end, the film lacked an ounce of true drama that could fully engross the viewer.

Furthermore, while I am generally a sucker for musical sequences Tangled’s songs left much to be desired. A properly done musical sequence in an animated film generally flows so well with the film and/or plot that you do not notice that it is different from the rest of the film. While watching Aladdin, for instance, we do not question why he is singing while running from the guards or riding the magic carpet. We just accept it. In Tangled, however, the songs are forced and the audience pays the price. The tunes aren’t catchy, the words aren’t memorable, and every time a character begins singing the viewer is drawn away from what is actually occurring in the film and becomes cognizant of the fact that singing in such situations is unnatural. I found that the CGI artwork further enhanced this problem. It’s a case of the uncanny valley. The more realistically the characters resemble the human form, the less realistic and more imposturous they seem, as they will never truly be an actual human form; just one more factor distracting me from an already weak storyline.

But, alas there was one glimmer hope…the closing credits (and not because it meant that I could leave). The artwork during the credits was amazing! It was a throwback to a more traditional style that did not go unappreciated, truly beautiful. If only the full film was drawn in this manner, I may have been willing to overlook some of the plot’s shortcomings.

All in all I found Tangled to be disappointing an uninspiring. It did not live up to what it could have/should have been. As such, I would like to close with a note to an old friend:

Dear Disney,

Please stop resting on your laurels and attempt to engage your audience. I liked you once. Maybe it could happen again.

Sincerely,

Alicia

Floyd Norman’s Concerns About Animation

Yesterday, animation legend Floyd Norman tweeted the following:

I have seen Tangled (the review is forthcoming, I promise) and I can attest that it does contain some excellent animation, both character and otherwise.

Not being an animator, I tend to appreciate the different forms of animation on a different level. I tend to enjoy all types, be it traditional, 3-D CGI, stop motion or even flash! I can, however, attest to the gut-wrenching admission that something that is better than what you use or do comes along. It’s tough to make such a statement and Floyd’s a big man for doing it.

The question is: does Floyd need to feel sad that a CGI film has excellent animation in it? It is surely not an acceptance of CGI or a rebuttal of traditional methods, not by a long shot. The problem (as far as I can tell) is that animation (and I’m talking feature animation here) is still a very stigmatising area of the artform.

Think about it, for years, Disney set the gold standard when it came to animated features with the result that every man and his dog tried to ape their formula, with varying degrees of success. Don Bluth gave things a good run for a bit and DreamWorks tried their best before they switched gears with Shrek.

It wasn’t until Pixar came along and up-ended the whole idea of what an animated film is that things became more interesting. Thus far, Pixar has not released a musical and Disney has only released two films that weren’t musicals, both [perhaps] not coincidentally CGI. To the best of my knowledge (and when I say knowledge, I mean recalling from memory without having time to confirm them on the internet), Disney has not released a non-musical feature within living memory.

So the land of animated features seems to be somewhat stigmatised. Traditional animation almost have to be a musical and CGI almost can’t be a musical. Now in fairness, cost could be used as an issue. A traditionally animated film can be really expansive, but with Toy Story 3’s recent cost estimated at in and around $300 million (that’s $300,000,000.oo) that argument isn’t really valid.

In that case is Floyd’s statement really valid? The answer is maybe. Tangled is the first CGI musical film and could easily be seen to be encroaching on the bastion of traditionally animated features. Having said that, it’s important to remember that Disney shut down their entire traditional department a few years ago in anticipation of becoming a CGI-only studio. What they didn’t realise is that CGI is simply a method, not a genre.

So in that case, why don’t we see a better mixture of themes within animated films? Perhaps John Lasseter can answer that, in the meantime, that sounds more like a post for another day.

Maybe Floyd’s concerned about the shift of skills in animation. CGI is created in a very different manner to traditional methods, where everything is drawn (or at least it was in the old days) on paper, one sheet at a time. There was a lot of skill inherent in making characters move with grace and with the dominance of CGI, there is a legitimate concern that these could disappear from the mainstream.

For me, I think he’s somewhat right. There is a noticeable shift in animation from traditional methods to CGI but there is still a lack of variety within the differing methods. Perhaps in time, this will change. If Tangled is any indication, then I think we can look forward to a more colourful and varied future for the animated feature.

A Critique of the Tangled One-Sheet Poster

If it seems that I’ve been posting about this film for the last three months, you’re right, I have. Today’s topic is the film’s one-sheet poster. We’re all familiar with one-sheets, they’re the poster’s you see at the cinema then buy for a relative fortune after the fact (but seriously if anyone out there would like to hook me up with some posters that are, um, passed their sell-by date, let me know).

The subject today is the latest (although probably not final) one for Tangled and I fell it’s worthy of a good critique. It is shown below for your convenience (cheers, /film).

Feel free to study it for a minute and come to a few of your own conclusions before continuing. Not being an art critic what you read below is pretty much the way I see it and I don’t want you to feel lost in any way.

Let’s start with the setting. It appears that they’re standing on the edge of a forest of some kind. The leaves/branches on top seem to set a slightly dark undertone for the film that you will already be aware of if you watched the trailers.

The background is, for want of a better word, wanting. We can see the tower on the right but it seems to bee set in some sort of quarry or canyon. Although this choice is well outside the poster designer’s grasp, its position suggests that the characters have their backs up against the metaphorical wall. The fact that they’re all ready to fight only reinforces this.

I cannot decipher a lot of detail in the background because the image file I have isn’t large enough but glimpses of the complexity of the animation can be seen in the detailing on the tower and the garden below it. It would be nice if this was more at the forefront of the poster to emphasise the artistic merit of the film but there’s a chance there’s another poster on the way which may or may not address this.

I suppose one of the nice things about CGI films is that their physical promotional material uses the actual animation as the source rather than relying on a separate set of artists and painters for the artwork. It keeps everything consistent for the sake of the public.

Moving onto the horse. He’s looking at the right rather than straight ahead like the other two. Why would he do that? Is he not focused on the terror in front of him like the others? I suppose not. He is also notable for being the only one of the trio to be holding an actual weapon. Comic relief aside he would seem to either be on a more perilous quest or, as I believe, is protecting the other two from a menace that they are oblivious to. He’s also snarling as if he’s been betrayed in some way. The horse might know something the other two do not. We will have to wait and see.

Flynn, our antagonistic male character, is holding the frying pan, the wrong way around of course (you always hit someone with the base of the pan, not the, eh, pan part itself), this might well allude to his level of intelligence. He too stands ready to fight although his smile gives the game away that he might not take the approaching fight as seriously as he should.

While he stands with his back to Rapunzel, as in, he’s got her back, she is standing in front. With that in mind, Flynn is clearly standing with his back to whatever it is the horse is snarling at. He’d do well to look the other way.

Lastly there is Rapunzel, our protagonist. She stands feet apart, although her left one is on tippy-toe, as if it is ready to move at a moments notice. She holds her hair in both hands as if it is a weapon although it is not clear how she intends to use it. We can take a good guess but the poster does not make the intent explicit enough.

She stands sideways but faces forwards as if she intends to twirl  into action. While more characters don’t normally stand face-forward, they also don’t have their bodies facing 90 degrees either. With her left hand pulled so far back, the pose looks contorted and uncomfortable. If I were getting ready for a fight, I would most definitely have both hands in front of me, Fighting Irish style (although, no, we don’t really hold our fists like that). While the pose itself suggests that she is ready to for whatever it is that she anticipates, a more natural position would have been, not realistic, but more inviting in the eyes of the audience.

Her face is the most intriguing of the trio. Her eyes are furrowed as if she is disapproving or concentrating on something. She displays a knowing smirk, as if she is aware of exactly how things are going to turn out in her favour.

Atop her head sits her little froggie sidekick. He looks like the only one of the bunch that’s asking for a fight.

Last but not least, we have the tagline at the top.

They’re taking adventure to new lengths

I get the pun, but everyone will read that as they expect it to be. There are a million potential puns on the idea of length and they chose one that has nothing to do with it. It could be better is all I’m saying.

Now, compare the setting of this poster with the French one.

Now there’s a dramatic scene, both characters hanging out of the tower so tall you can barely see the ground below. The girl has managed to subdue Flynn as we would expect but it is clear that he is apprehensive not merely scared. Either way, does that look like an exciting movie or what?

Overall, the design of the US poster is pleasing. It is colourful and sets the overall tone for the film, i.e. it’s a bit of an adventure, we’re all in together and there’s a few laughs along the way. It piques interest in the film, which is its main mission. The trailer will do much more to sell the film, the one-sheet’s job is to alert the public to an exciting new movie that will soon debut.

Has it made me anticipate the movie? Yes it has. Would I hang it on my wall? Perhaps, although I’d have to move a few things around. As you can see, things are not as simple as they first appear. I’ve written a good  hundred thousand words on the thing and I’m not the slightest bit observant when it comes to art.

All in all, it looks like a good show. Let’s hope it turns out all right 🙂